Glendale city planner grants proposed hotel an exception to zoning rules

A proposal to build a 134-room Holiday Inn Suites hotel calls for the demolition of the World Gym at 1011 E. Colorado St. in Glendale.

A proposal to build a 134-room Holiday Inn Suites hotel calls for the demolition of the World Gym at 1011 E. Colorado St. in Glendale.

(Courtesy of Alajajian Marcoosi Architects, Inc.)

A proposal to tear down a Glendale gym to make way for a 134-room hotel cleared its first hurdle toward approval as a city official granted an exception to build a four-story structure.

The property owner is looking to level the World Gym at 1011 E. Colorado Blvd. to make way for a Holiday Inn Suites, despite vocal opposition from people who’ve worked out at the gym for years.

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Zoning rules state that nothing in the area can be taller than three stories. However, even with an additional floor, the hotel would not exceed the 50-foot cap on height, said project architect Aram Alajajian.

“If we go with the permitted three-story level, you would reduce [the hotel] down to 87 units and create a hardship in securing a flagship suites hotel,” he said during a planning hearing on Jan. 26.

Late last month, Planning Hearing Officer Bradley Collin issued a ruling approving the variance, stating he agreed with Alajajian.

“The building has been designed to sensitively relate to its surrounding context and neighboring developments,” Collin wrote in his ruling.

The hotel proposal now heads to the Design Review Board for consideration.

A group of longtime World Gym members spoke at the January planning hearing asking that the business — open since 1999 and with about 6,000 members — stay where it is.

“Even though the World Gym is a small gym in the community compared with other big corporations we have in Glendale, we are a lot like a family,” said Francisco Resito, a trainer and member since 2003. “It’s not only my job, it’s like another family for me.”

However, if the time comes to bulldoze the gym, it likely won’t spell the end for the business, said co-owner Barry Curow in a phone interview.

A new location would be sought out, and the goal would be to keep a World Gym in Glendale, he said.

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“Anytime you move a client base, you need to be within reasonable mileage from them, so that they stay with you,” Curow said.

Part of the building was constructed in 1942 and served as the original headquarters for Bob’s Big Boy, but because of a number of modifications to the property, it isn’t eligible for any kind of historic designation, according to a city staff report.

The Holiday Inn Suites would have amenities such as a fitness center, business center, meeting room and lounge area, the staff report states.

The project would also have to provide 134 parking spaces.

The hotel isn’t expected to generate more than 50 vehicular trips during the peak morning and evening rush hours — an impact that’s not significant, according to the report.

The Holiday Inn Suites project is the latest push by the city to bring more hotels to Glendale.

A Hampton Inn & Suites is currently under construction down the street on Colorado near Central Avenue. In the past few months, the City Council has directed plans be drawn up for two boutique hotels in downtown Glendale — a 130-room Hotel Indigo and a 117-room AC Hotel.

“Glendale, with a population of 200,000, is very underserved by quality motels and hotels,” said city spokesman Tom Lorenz. “We find many of our motels are at or near capacity Monday through Friday.”


Arin Mikailian,

Twitter: @ArinMikailian



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